June 01 – Discovery of Saturn’s moons Methone and Pallene

Today in 2004, two new moons were discovered around Saturn by the Cassini Imaging Team at NASA. They are now named Methone and Pallene, in keeping with John Herschel’s suggestion that Saturnian moons should be named after the close family members of Kronos (the Greek equivalent to the Roman Saturn).

Methone is really small. It’s about two miles (3 km) in diameter, and orbits every 24 hours, over 120,000 miles above the planet, between the orbits of Mimas and Enceladus, and may well have been part of one of them at some time in the past.

Methone, photographed by Cassini (image credit: NASA).
Methone, photographed by Cassini (image credit: NASA).

Pallene is also diminutive, but at three miles wide (4 km) it is the larger of the Alkyonides group comprising itself, Methone and Anthe (the smallest).

1966 – Launch of Surveyor 1, on its way to the Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms) to check out the Moon’s surface prior to the launch of the Apollo program.

1990 – Launch of the ROSAT (Röntgensatellit) x-ray and UV telescope from Cape Canaveral.